Hot and heady: an enticing calling card for researchers of tomorrow.

BODY 2.0


A primer on biomedical engineering.

Veteran science author Latta (Zoom in on Mining Robots, 2018, etc.) here spotlights the fascinating convergence of medicine, engineering, and scientific discovery, offering provocative glimpses into the burgeoning fields of tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, neuroscience, microbiology, genetic engineering, and synthetic biology. Inspiring problem-solving–minded teens to explore these STEM disciplines by describing projects so cutting edge they seem like science fiction, Latta also includes brief profiles and photos of diverse researchers that enable readers to imagine themselves pursuing similar careers. Says Dr. Gilda Barabino, “I think there’s a little bit of an engineer in everybody. It’s curiosity! Everybody wants to know how things work.” Areas of potential breakthrough covered include brain-computer interfaces that may one day allow people with paralysis or limited mobility to move their limbs or control a robot helper; editing the human genome to treat chronic diseases like sickle cell disease by removing and replacing damaged DNA; optogenetics, which hopes to combine gene therapy with light to reduce pain and cure blindness; and growing bespoke body parts like bone, skin, arteries, and more in the lab, seeded by one’s own cells and partially crafted by 3-D bioprinters. Full-color diagrams and photos combined with informative text boxes and a lively, conversational style make this an appealing choice.

Hot and heady: an enticing calling card for researchers of tomorrow. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, further information, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2813-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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A balanced, reputable reference.



An introduction to the history, functionality, pitfalls, and potentials of internet-based currencies.

After explaining the basics—that bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency, a digital asset used like money, that relies on blockchain (a decentralized online ledger that tracks and verifies ownership to validate transactions)—Wall Street financial writer January takes readers to the financial crisis of 2007-2008 to show the problems bitcoin was devised to solve (lack of trust in government and the banking industry as well as the weaknesses of human intermediaries). Blockchain’s complicated verification system is the answer to preventing online counterfeiting. Chapters cover cryptocurrency’s nuts and bolts as well as its struggles: its initial bad reputation for use by malefactors on the Silk Road Dark Web, the get-rich bubbles, and other vulnerabilities. The initial divide—old, White, rich establishment versus the cryptocurrency innovators—becomes blurred as banks start to use blockchain for their own ends. Despite the intriguing topic, the prose tends toward dry. Because the philosophies and motives of cryptocurrency founders and early players shaped the way the technology was used—and will be used—there are reoccurring themes of conflict between utopian and capitalistic ideals. These intriguing moments lay the groundwork for a speculative take that blockchain can disrupt present-day technological risks in the form of monopolies and data abuses from certain large companies.

A balanced, reputable reference. (timeline, glossary, source notes, further information, index, image credits) (Nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7877-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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All right but already aging.



A brief survey of emerging medical technologies.

The introduction examines applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence in diagnostics, patient analysis, and treatment plans. The first chapter compares 2020’s scramble for a Covid-19 vaccine to a 1964 rubella outbreak then catalogs genetic technologies including vaccination, gene therapy, genomic sequencing, and personalized medicine. The book then takes a macroscopic look at nanotechnologies, zooming in on applications for improving diagnostic outcomes, specialized medication delivery, and highly targeted treatments. Other topics covered include robotics, including microbots (microscopic metal devices guided through a patient’s body by an external magnetic field); uncanny “super mannequins” (anthropoid training tools that approximate the bodies and reactions of human patients); surgical assistants (that allow for minimally invasive procedures that reduce blood loss, recovery time, instances of infection, and even scar size); and 3-D printers that can generate custom pharmaceutical dosages, low-cost prostheses, and surgical tools. The book concludes with an exploration of telemedicine, especially in field hospitals and psychiatry. A major oversight is the failure to address ethical concerns about R&D and patient privacy as well as issues of racial and gender bias that are built into technology and medical care. While this is an accessible starting point for report writers, the rapidly changing nature of the subject limits its usefulness. However, the subject matter is intriguing, and the writing is clear and readable.

All right but already aging. (source notes, further research, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68282-929-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: ReferencePoint Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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